Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
Fasting is a practice of refraining to find true freedom. By willing ourselves to refrain from food or something we desire, we free ourselves from the bondage they have over us. Self-controlled practices like fasting teach us that will can trump impulsive desire and human desire does not have to have the final word.
Freedom is found when we walk in the way of Jesus not by our every impulse. Often our surface desires crave loudly – to fill our bellies, to respond in anger, to numb our circumstances. But, we all have a deeper desire to be released from our sinful entangling desires and to make them captive to our truest need for freedom.
Like in Isaiah 58, we don’t fast to change God’s mind but to unite with him in the process of walking in his way. We fast to remember we need God on this journey and we cry out to him for help. Let’s cry out this evening in fasting together remembering all generations need him desperately.
You can begin with us at 4pm at Littles Creek Park for a time of Worship through the freeing practice of confession.
By Yvonne Biel